Dylan Ferrandis remains focused on the championship

Jeff Kardas, ProMotocross.com
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Beginning with Round 5 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season at WW Ranch, Dylan Ferrandis turned a corner and has arguably been the hottest rider on the circuit since.

Finishing fourth in Moto 1 in Jacksonville, Fla. on a track that resembled a Supercross course more than a Motocross one, Ferrandis suffered through a poor start to that race. Then he stormed back to win Moto 2 and the French-born rider has not looked over his shoulder since.

In the past five races of the season, he has earned four podium finishes and two overall victories – the most recent of which came in the last race at Washougal. It was a perfect weekend; Ferrandis earned maximum points with a pair of moto wins.

What changed halfway through the WW Ranch?

According to Ferrandis: nothing. Well, nothing much. Maybe a slight adjustment in attitude.

“The Supercross season took me a lot of energy and focus so I needed couple races to really get back into the outdoors flow,” Ferrandis told NBC Sports. “But nothing really changed before or after WW ranch, just maybe more confidence on myself.”

Winning will certainly give a rider confidence and since the midway point of at WW Ranch, he has done a lot of that. The following week Ferrandis won Moto 2 at Southwick. He was perfect at RedBud in Buchanan, Mich. with his pair of moto wins and was flawless again at Washougal to five him four moto wins of the latest six.

His key to success in recent weeks has been better starts at the beginning of each moto.

“I haven’t really practiced or changed anything on the bike for the starts,” Ferrandis continued. “The problem was more in my mind. It took me couple races to figured it out but now I feel way better.”

Unfortunately after a modest start to the season, coupled with the near-perfect record of Adam Cianciarulo in the first four rounds, Ferrandis has needed better than 20-20 vision to see what is in front of him.

“My mind is still the same,” Ferrandis said. “I always ride to win, 28 points deficit or not, but now for sure I really look to win this championship and for that I’m in must-win position.”

While Cianciarulo may be a little too far ahead to see clearly as the series enters Unadilla, that is not Ferrandis’ focus.

Ferrandis knows the only thing in his control during the final three events is how he sits atop the bike and how much power he can get out of his Yamaha. He may need to be perfect in the final rounds, but that has already happened twice in the last three weeks with his sweeps at RedBud and Washougal.

“I never really look at other riders during races,” Ferrandis said. “I try to only focus on myself and on my riding but we all know that AC is most of the time out front and if I am too, I am always aware of where he is during the race.”

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Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.